Places to Paddle

Family Canoe Trips with Other Families

Places to Rent Canoes

Places to Rent Canoes and Kayaks Around Washington, DC 2014 update

Places to Rent Canoes and Kayaks in MD, VA and WV – further outside of Washington, DC

Map of Places to Paddle

Google Map (in progress) of places to paddle


State Parks in Maryland with Canoeing and Kayaking

Potomac River boat launches – list of access sites

Montgomery County, MD

C&O Canal at Great Falls, MD – long portage from parking.  You have to steer clear of the canal boat rides.  There is water in the canal. Fee to enter park.

C&O Canal at Old Anglers Inn (MacArthur Blvd, across the street from the restaurant “Old Anglers Inn”.  Do not park at the restaurant.  Long portage to canal and lots of whitewater paddlers who are parking there. Difficulty getting parking here. But you can canoe to Widewater, which is a wonderful place to canoe.  You can even lunch on a micro-sized island.

C&O Canal at Swain’s Lock (Swain’s Lock Road near River Road), Potomac, MD — need to check to see if there is water in the canal at this point. Easy parking, short portage to canal.

C&O Canal at Violette’s Lock, (Violettes Lock Road near River Road) Potomac, MD – easy parking, short portage to canal.  (Trip report)

Clopper Lake, Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg, MD – in state it costs $3/ person to get into this park; out of state it costs $5/ person.  It says they rent canoes, but doesn’t say how much or whether there is a launch fee.  I’m sure not going to go pay $9 to get into this park, but if you live closeby and have a state park pass, then it may be a good place to paddle.

Lake Needwood – Rockville – Rental boats available, private boats need a permit, ($5/ day)

Lake Whetstone – Montgomery Village – (private lake) boat rental available for residents and non-residents, but only MVF members may launch a private boat.

Little Seneca Lake – Black Hill Regional Park, Germantown, MD – rental boats available, private boats need a permit to launch.

Seneca Creek at the Potomac River (Riley’s Lock Road near River Road) – easy parking short portage to creek – creek is pretty wide at this point and allows motor boats in this section.

Tridelphia Reservoir – Fees : A Watershed Use Permit fee ($6 daily – $70 annual) is required to engage in recreational activity on the watershed. See link for more details.

Prince Georges County, MD

Patuxent River at Jackson Landing – Jug Bay Natural Area – (Trip report)

Governor Bridge Natural Area – Bowie, MD

Prince George’s County Canoeing and more – Patuxent River Park and more.

Patuxent River Trail

Howard County

Lakes in Howard County, MD

Centennial Lake, Ellicott City, MD – I’ve been to this lake, there is a great playground nearby and there is no launch fee to launch your boat.  I have not been canoeing at this lake, but with the playground near by, this may be one of my next canoe spots.

Patapsco River Valley Park at Daniels Area – small parking lot, no rentals, swimming allowed.  See trip report.

Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County Canoe and Kayak Launch Sites

Martins Kayak -Paddling in Maryland: Kayaking in and Around the Chesapeake Bay

Baltimore County

Gunpowder Falls State Park – Hammerman area (day use fee and launch fee apply)

District of Columbia

Fletcher’s Boat House – Canoeing on the C&O Canal, rental boats available.


Lake Accotink – Rental boats available, private boats pay a launch fee. (For rental boats, only 3 people allowed in a boat, even if it is two small children who weigh a total of 70 lbs.) This is ridiculous since they don’t count the weigh limit of the adults.

Lake Fairfax, Reston – (no swimming allowed), website says nominal fee for boating, but then fails to give any additional information, whether there are rentals or launch for private boats.

Burke Lake Park – no canoe rentals (rowboat rental only), launch fee for private boats, fee to enter park for non-county residents.

Virginia State Park Amenity Search (check boat launch/ rental)

Places around Occoquan, VA

Occoquan Reservoir,

West Virginia

West Virginia River Access Points

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